What Are Hangovers?
A hangover is a group of symptoms that develop as a result of excessive drinking. Fatigue, weakness, thirst, headache, muscle aches, nausea, stomach discomfort, vertigo, sensitivity to light and sound, anxiety, irritability, sweating, and high blood pressure are all common symptoms. The severity of a hangover varies from person to person. The more alcohol you consume, the more likely you are to experience a hangover the following day, however, there is no secret formula that can tell you how much you can drink without getting a hangover. Most hangovers go away on their own, despite the fact that they might persist for up to 24 hours.
Symptoms of a Hangover
When your blood alcohol content drops to zero or close to zero, hangover symptoms usually begin. The morning following a night of excessive drinking, they’re usually in full force. You may experience the following effects, depending on what you drank and how much you drank:
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Dry mouth and dehydration
- Muscle pains and headaches
- Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain are all symptoms of nausea.
- Sleep deprivation or disruption
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound.
- Feeling dizzy or as if the room is whirling
- The capacity to concentrate deteriorates.
- Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and irritability
- A fast heartbeat
Causes of a Hangover
Drinking too much alcohol causes hangovers. For some people, a single alcoholic drink is enough to cause a hangover, while others may drink significantly and avoid a headache totally. A number of things lead to a hangover; here are some of them:
Alcohol prevents the production of vasopressin, a brain hormone that causes the kidneys to retain fluid by sending signals to them. As a result, alcohol causes increased urine and fluid loss. The resulting mild dehydration is likely to contribute to hangover symptoms like thirst, tiredness, and a headache.
Alcohol raises stomach acid production and slows stomach emptying. Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting can be caused by any of these conditions. Your immune system responds to alcohol by becoming inflamed. Certain substances that typically cause physical symptoms, such as inability to focus, memory issues, decreased appetite, and loss of interest in regular activities may be triggered by your immune system.
The liver produces acetaldehyde, a toxic, short-lived byproduct of alcohol metabolism that contributes to inflammation in the liver, pancreas, brain, gastrointestinal system, and other organs.
Individuals may feel calmer, more relaxed, or even euphoric after drinking, but the brain soon adjusts to those good effects in order to maintain balance. As a result, as the rush wears off, individuals may feel more restless and nervous than they did before drinking.
While drinking too much alcohol can make you tired, it also prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep and may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. You may feel drowsier than usual the next day.
Although alcohol is the primary cause of a hangover, additional components of alcoholic beverages may contribute to, or worsen hangover symptoms. Here are a few more other symptoms:
These are chemicals created during fermentation, that are not ethyl alcohol. The taste and fragrance of alcoholic beverages are influenced by these compounds. Some people’s hangover symptoms may be worsened by darker spirits, such as bourbon, which have higher levels of congeners than clear spirits.
These are chemicals that are used as preservatives in wine. If you’re sensitive to sulfites, you can get a headache after drinking wine.
Risk Factors of Hangover
Drinking on an Empty Stomach
The absorption of alcohol is increased when there is no food in your stomach.
Having a Family History of Alcoholism
If you have close relatives who have struggled with alcoholism, it’s possible that you have a hereditary problem with how your body processes alcohol.
- Using other drugs, such as nicotine, along with alcohol
- Smoking and drinking together tend to raise the chances of a bad day the next day.
- Not sleeping well or long enough after drinking
- Some studies believe that some hangover symptoms are caused, at least in part, by the poor-quality, short sleep cycle that occurs after a night of drinking
How to Prevent Hangovers
Despite the numerous over-the-counter medications and tablets claiming to cure hangovers, the only safe approach to avoid a hangover is to avoid alcohol. If you must consume alcohol, do it in moderation. For healthy individuals, moderate alcohol consumption includes up to one drink per day for women of all ages and men over the age of 65, and up to two drinks per day for males 65 and younger.
You’re less likely to get a hangover if you drink less alcohol. It might be useful for you to:
Eat Before and After you Drink
Because alcohol is absorbed more quickly when your stomach is empty, eating something before and throughout your drinking session may be beneficial.
Make a Wise Decision
Hangovers are slightly less likely to occur in beverages with fewer congeners than in beverages with more congeners, but keep in mind that any form of alcohol can result in a hangover.
Consume Alcohol in Moderation
Make a plan for how many drinks you’ll have ahead of time and stick to it. Don’t feel it necessary to consume alcohol.
Sip Water Between Drinks
Stay hydrated by drinking a full glass of water after each alcoholic drink. It will also assist you in consuming less alcohol.
How to Find Relief from Hangovers
The only definite treatment for a hangover is time. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help you feel better:
Take a Pain Reliever
An OTC anti-inflammatory medication should suffice for severe headaches. Because acetaminophen (Tylenol) might aggravate the toxic effects of alcohol in the liver, aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil) are recommended over it.
Get Some Sleep
Hangover symptoms are often worsened by inadequate sleep. Try to sleep in a little longer or take a nap later in the day if you can. You might notice that your symptoms go away if you get a couple more hours of sleep.
Foods that Cure Hangovers
Dehydration and the loss of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium occur when alcohol prevents the production of a hormone that helps your body hold on to water. Bananas are particularly high in potassium and can help your body replenish its levels. This vitamin is found in 12 percent of the daily value in one medium banana.
Because dehydration and decreased blood supply to the brain are common causes of hangover headaches, eating watermelon may help. L-citrulline, a vitamin found in watermelon, may help to improve blood flow. What’s more? Its high water content can also help you rehydrate.
Extensive study backs up the usage of ginger as a nausea treatment. Ginger’s anti-nausea properties make it a potential cure for stomach trouble caused by hangovers.
Sweet potatoes are high in nutrients that may help you recover fast from a hangover. One cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potato has more than 750 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, 14% of the daily value for magnesium, and 27% of the daily value for potassium (44). Vitamin A may aid with hangover inflammation, but magnesium and potassium are required to replenish what is lost during alcohol use.
Meat and other high-protein foods may aid in the recovery of a hangover. Alcohol affects the absorption of some amino acids, according to research. Chronic alcohol consumption, in fact, can cause amino acid deficiency. Protein is broken down into amino acids by your body, making it a suitable hangover food.
Cysteine, an amino acid that your body requires to make the antioxidant glutathione, is abundant in eggs. The glutathione stores in the body are depleted when you drink alcohol. Your body will struggle to break down the poisonous effects of alcohol metabolism if you don’t have it. Consuming cysteine-rich eggs is a great method to boost glutathione levels and maybe alleviate hangover symptoms.
Now that you Know…
While there is no cure for a hangover, there are numerous methods for reducing or alleviating the symptoms. Staying hydrated, eating nutritious foods, and getting plenty of rest are all crucial. The majority of hangovers subside within 24 hours.